Western Region’s most wanted sea thief, Thomas Yalley aka Papa Yalley, aged 43, Thursday been handed a two year jail sentence by a Takoradi Harbour Area District Court presided by her Lordship Angela Attachie.
Thomas Yalley was charged with conspiracy to commit crime to wit: stealing, Being on premises for unlawful purpose, causing unlawful damage, carrying unlawful weapon and stealing.
Police prosecutor, DSP Isaac Mensah Appenteng told the District Court Harbor Area, Takoradi that on March 23rd this year the marine police received a call from the Ghana Ports control room that the convict Thomas Yalley together with four others unlawfully entered a UK flagged Vessel by name “SEVEN PACIFIC” which was anchored at the port of Takoradi and stole some valuables.
He said a team of investigators from the Marine Police, Navy and GPHA internal security visited the crime scene and the Norwegian captain identified as Ben Kilgoour on board the vessel told them they spotted a blue speed boat with the inscription “PM PRINCESS MARINE” close to their vessel and manage to steal laptops valued at 4,200 dollars.
Police investigations led to the arrest of the convict and one of his accomplices David Kwofie who also been sentenced into 12 months imprisonment after pleading guilty.
The Director for Marine, Ports and Railways of the Ghana Police Service, ACP Iddi Seidu told Empire News’ Emmanuel Ohene-Gyan after the arrest of Thomas Yalley in the early part of the year they are yet to record any form of stealing on the shores of the port of Takoradi.
“Late last year and early part of this year, there have been series of robberies at the anchorage of Takoradi Port; at least we recorded four of such robberies. Two of the vessels were carrying paint which was robbed but the problem we had was that the ship captain and crew did not have any idea as to who robbed them off the paint. This is what we will also take advantage off to call on the shipping agents to inform their captains that once you come into the anchorage, although the GPHA, the marine police, the Ghana Navy, will do our part by patrolling the area, but it is also the responsibility of the ship crew to keep watch.
In this particular case that we succeeded in getting the convicts arrested and one other person, the Captain of the ship saw the make of the canoe and gave that useful information. With respect to the other cases, they couldn’t give us any meaningful information that is why we could not make anything out of it,” ACP Iddi Seidu revealed.
When asked by Empire News’ Emmanuel Ohene-Gyan whether the growing theft operations cast a slur on the image of the Takoradi Port, ACP Iddi Seidu disclosed, it did and has earned the tag a high risk ports which in turn reduce business activities at the port.
He said “Currently the Takoradi Port is listed as one of the high risks ports for doing business. What this means is that unless critical scrutiny is made, a lot of ships will avoid the Takoradi Port because of this incident that happened at the beginning of the year. So the arrest and conviction of this guy has brought great relief to those of us in the maritime sector here because those criminal activities will be brought to a halt”.